Every single UK venue booked by anti-LGBT preacher Franklin Graham has now ditched his events, after an outcry from activists.
The Trump-supporting preacher, who is known for praising Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws and blaming gay people for a “moral 9/11”, is set to visit the UK at the start of Pride Month in June as part of an evangelist tour.
However, every single venue booked for the eight-date tour has now cancelled, after being made aware of his extreme anti-LGBT views.
Last UK venue drops Franklin Graham
The Utilita Arena in Newcastle was the final venue to announce it had axed the preacher, following the lead of venues in Birmingham, Newport, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Liverpool. A London date, also planned, never secured a venue.
Newcastle’s Utilita Arena confirmed on Wednesday: “Following talks with our partners and relevant stakeholders we can confirm that the Franklin Graham event scheduled at the Utilita Arena Newcastle in June will not take place.”
Ste Dunn, chair of Northern Pride, told PinkNews: “Having led the call for this to be cancelled and coordinated the support of numerous groups throughout the city, we are obviously delighted by this decision.
“We would like to thank everyone who got behind the campaign and signed our petition, to make a stand and show that anti-LGBT+ speech is not welcome in Newcastle.”
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Hate preacher plans to take legal action
Graham, who has previously declared that gay people are “the enemy” of civilisation, has vowed to go ahead with the tour.
A statement on the website said: “We are still finalising where the Graham Tour will be held, but we want to be clear that the initiative and all associated training courses will take place on the same dates as originally planned.”
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has said it will pursue legal action over the decision to cancel the shows.
A spokesperson told right-wing Christian outlet CBN: “Since the original venues have broken our legal contract with them, we are pursuing appropriate actions based on grounds of religious discrimination and freedom of speech.
“The Gospel always faces opposition, so we will prayerfully and boldly continue to press forward so that the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness will be proclaimed in all of the cities we have planned to visit.”
Graham tweeted on Saturday: “I’m looking forward to preaching the Gospel across the UK in late May & June.
“Hundreds of churches are praying & planning to be a part of these evangelistic outreaches. People everywhere are searching for something to fill the void in their lives. Jesus Christ is the answer.”